Thursday, February 26, 2009

An exercise in...

Well, I can't think of a single entertaining thing to write about other than my bad mood, but I'm feeling merciful so I'll spare you that. Instead, I'll post this week's writing exercise for your perusal.

The goal was to describe the main character from the point of view of someone who doesn't know him/her.
Gary stood in the coffee shop, gingerly shifting the scalding cup from hand to hand, scanning the room for a place to sit. He hated being there when the place was full. He generally avoided the lunchtime crowd, but it was raining like the end of days outside and his truck was in the shop. He was going nowhere for at least an hour.

As usual, most of the seats were occupied by kids from the college, clustered around tables littered with books, papers, and snacks. The noise level was high; too high.

Irritated, he scoured the tables for someone near his own age, another lone grown-up who wouldn't mind sharing a table for a bit. If he was lucky it would be another introvert and he wouldn't have to pay for his seat with awkward conversation.

He peered around the corner of the counter. Way in the back, a woman sat alone, hunched over the teeny table crammed in between the restroom doors. Not the most elegant spot, but there was an open seat across from her. He headed for the table, assessing the risk of chit-chat.

Like himself, she appeared to be middle-aged, of unremarkable height or weight, with pale skin indicative of northern European ancestry. She was dressed in what he recognized as 'absent-minded-professor casual'; an awkwardly-fitting gray skirt and white, oddly-ruffled blouse with a gigantic fuzzy cardigan over her shoulders. A glance under the table revealed beat-up clogs with colorful socks just visible out the back. Surprised, he chuckled. He wasn't the only one who didn't dress for success today.

Her straight, shoulder-length, salt-and-pepper hair was pulled back haphazardly into a sloppy ponytail. He couldn't get a good look at her face, but she was wearing glasses, and thick ones at that. She hunched over her book with the posture of someone who often hunched over books. She seemed to be the sort who counted on being mostly invisible in social settings.

Just like him.

Pleased by the prospect of a quiet hour, he slowly approached.

Not sure if Gary the dairy farmer will make the cut, but it was a fun exercise. I'm half tempted to keep him as a potential romantic interest, as long as I don't have to write any of those scenes, IYKWIM.


  1. Hmmm... you are sparing us your bad mood? I guess I should do that too. Instead I just bitch and vent on my blog. You are SO much nicer than I am! ;)

  2. I so enjoy reading your writing! Thank you! (A little behind on my blog reading...)


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